Sennheiser launches HDV 820 headphone amp and DAC

Sennheiser has announced a new headphone amp, the HDV 820. Building on the success of the HDVD 800 - the firm's first digital headphone amp - it offers a new DAC, higher-resolution sound and lower-distortion components.

There's also improved fully balanced signal processing and low harmonic distortion.

The new digital section is powered by an ESS Sabre32 digital-to-analogue converter (DAC). According to Sennheiser, this offers "unequalled dynamic range, ultra-low distortion and unmatched audio clarity". It performs at a PCM resolution of 32 bits and a sampling rate of up to 384kHz or 12.3MHz in DSD mode.

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The analogue section also builds on that of its predecessor. It features an unbalanced output through an XLR3/6.3mm combined NEUTRIK socket, one balanced XLR4 and two balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn sockets (the new standard for balanced headphone connections set by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association - JEITA). Thanks to their unmodulated, low contact resistance, the Pentaconn sockets minimise distortion.

Alongside the HDV 820, Sennheiser also announced the CH 800 P, a headphone cable that comes with the Pentaconn connector. It lets you connect the HDV 820 to high-end Sennheiser headphones such as the HD 800.

Both the HDV 820 and CH 800 P will go on sale in July. The HDV 820 will cost £2089 while the CH 800 P price isn't confirmed yet.

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.